So yesterday we met with Tefera. Tefera has led the project at Bright Hope (Biruh Tesfa) from the CHI (Children’s Hope International) side. He was the Ethiopian contact for the US Office and the project development director. I was really surprised by our meeting.
First, when I got here I texted Tefera to say hi and Merry Christmas, and his reply wasn’t really what I was expecting – it was curt, which isn’t how we normally interact. Also, I had been trying to communicate with him via email over the last few months about the project(s) at Bright Hope but he hadn’t been responding – also unlike him. This is one of the big reasons we’re here, because communication with project/development leaders has been nearly impossible over the last 6 months, which makes it really hard to lay a foundation for the future of Journey’s involvement in Ethiopia.
Well, yesterday I found out that on the day Sandy and I arrive, Tefera’s sister died. I think she had a heart attack in the middle of the night. It was completely unexpected and he is really grieving that unexpected loss. I really can’t believe he didn’t tell me this when we were setting up the meeting.
Secondly, Tefera is no longer working with CHI. CHI hired a new country director in July and they do not see eye to eye. He feels that he’s tried his best to work with her and finally she let him go. He was stunned and frankly, so am I. He’s really become someone I’ve grown to trust and appreciate. I don’t know any of the details, so I’m sure there’s more to the story, but the short end to it is that he is not overseeing the projects at Bright Hope any longer. Huge bummer.
So Joe, Sandy, Tefera and I spent time over macchiatos talking about his sister, the quick change of events in his life, and his ideas/knowledge of other schools in the city who might be interested in community development projects like Bright Hope. I was unaware of another school in the Korah area (no one has mentioned this before) called Basilios. Apparently it almost borders the dump and Ring Road. According to Tefera, it’s smaller than Bright Hope but a few months ago their staff or administrators had been by Bright Hope to see the progress of the project and expressed interest in similar community development. This sparked our interest, so we will go visit it tomorrow. Sandy will also get to see the project at Bright Hope and Joe and I will get to see our friends there. I’m super excited!
Today we’ll work on getting the shoes out of customs, fixing my Ethiopia SIM card for my phone and ridding the living room furniture of termites 😉 I’ve never seen these little buggers before, but they are a PAIN! I can hear them chewing on the eucalyptis shelves next to the couch when I’m reading in the AM. Customs could take all day again, so we’ll let you know how that goes. Thanks for your prayers!
You make beautiful things / You make beautiful things out of the dust / You make beautiful things out of us